February 2009

Look what the cat dragged in.

So we’re watching TV and Tanya goes “Isn’t that a snake”. Check the TV, no, it’s an AR-15, although, it being TV, it’s the fully automatic version with the 1000 round magazi… oh you mean that thing the cat’s playing with?

Stuck it in a jar, released it on Boyes drive this morning.

Wouter’s room

We started with a three-bedroom house. A three-bedroom house with a single garage converted to an activity room, and a huge free-standing triple+ garage.

Somewhere along the way we decided to make the activity room into our main bedroom. The smallest of the three bedrooms would then become Tanya’s scrapbooking room. Which of course relegated Yours Truly to the huge free-standing triple+ garage.

I built a batten-and-shutterboard wall across the back portion of the garage, put down some of the carpets we took out of the main house, and put up the kitchen cupboards we took out.

Also had Frank put in a ceiling, with insulation, but it still gets very hot in there. Anyway, it’s starting to look good.

Now all I need is a bed and a fridge and Tanya will never see me :-)

Happiness is a warm, dirty gun.

Last year, at a GOSA meeting, Adrian persuaded Thomas and me to shoot IDPA with him (didn’t take much persuasion, truth be told).

Also last year, I joined the False Bay Gun Club. I mean, it’s 5km on the dot from our house, I can just about walk there. Good excuse to shoot more often. I initially thought it was a pistol range only, but it turns out there’s a 130m rifle range too. Amazing what one can fit into an old quarry.

So when I heard, on Friday, that they were shooting IDPA qualifiers on Sunday, I had to get my act together. I had 40 odd rounds of 38 Special lying around (158 grain SWC, 5.5 grains of MP200, PMP magnum primer). Took that to the range on Saturday, to check where it shoots relative to my carry ammo (125 grain Hornady XTP, 1400 fps). Turns out it shoots to exactly the same point-of-aim. Bonus!

Then I had to rush off to Bellville to get primers and powder to make more ammo. While in Bellville I helped Pieter pull a 3 phase circuit into his kitchen extension. Back in Fish Hoek I set up the Lee Pro 1000 and made a few hundred rounds.

Sunday morning was the qualifier, which took a bit longer than anticipated. I think more than the expected number of people pitched. A second range was quickly set up, and great fun was had by all. I was told I did OK for a beginner, will see when the scores come out :-)

Things I learned:

I’m used to silhouette shooting. That’s slowly aimed single-shot single-action work. IDPA is fast and double-action. I need to practice my offhand double action shooting.

Also, revolvers strike the primer a little bit harder in single-action than in double-action mode. I had a few soft strikes. Of course with a revolver the trick is to just keep going, in general the round will fire the second time it’s hit. If not, well, then you need to reload. But I need to shim the hammer spring just a little.

I have a habit of trying to collect the brass. This can get you killed in a real-life confrontation. I need to learn to ditch the brass, pick it up later.

And my carry holster works fine for its intended purpose, but it’s not going to work for IDPA. I needed to remove the holster, holster the gun, and then slip the holster back IWB. I have other holsters, but they’re in Bellville…

Found the problem

This leak must have been there for… months… years… a long time. Strange that the previous owners never noticed. Or maybe they thought that paying the R150 extra a month was cheaper than getting someone in to fix the problem.

Doing our bit to save the environment, part 2

Our water bill has been high every month since we got the house. I attributed it to the building and other work going on, but now that we’re settled in, it became clear that Something Is Not Right.

Specifically, we’re using about 40 thousand litres a month. That’s about 10 thousand US gallons.

So I thought I should make a daily note of the water meter reading, to see what’s happening (Many councils have a habit of estimating usage based on one month’s consumption, for months on end). Immediately noticed that the wheel is turning, even though I knew there was no water running anywhere in the house.

Closing the stop cocks available to me, I figure it must be a leak in the plumbing I didn’t replace. The water mains enters the property through a stop cock, from there (I think) it goes to two outside taps, and then to the junction which feeds the geyser (via a stopcock), the prep bowl and the toilets.

This is the junction, below all the other stuff I ripped out (picture from April 2008, when I just started). It feeds the geyser (thick pipe going left and bending up) and the toilets and prep bowl (the other side of the T junction). All the other cold water taps are fed from the geyser side of the pressure regulator, so that the hot & cold water pressures are the same, so that mixer taps work right. And taking the geyser offline doesn’t stop the meter.

So, the leak is either under the front lawn, at the junction, or under the house. I’m guessing the latter. Tomorrow it’s Frank and a spade, that’s the only way to find out.

The long-awaited shower post.

It’s been a quiet few weeks, blog-wise, and I prefer to think it’s because I had, for however brief a time, a life.

That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

Anyway, the shower in the main-en-suite. My original design featured two shower heads, a conventional rose at conventional height, and a large overhead rose. All of this controlled by a standard bathtub diverter tap (the type you would normally use for a bathtub / shower combination, or a bathtub with a telephone shower).

This is the best picture I have, I’m afraid — I was photographing the curved wall.

The large rose was a given — Tanya likes it, a lot. The idea behind the lower rose is that Tanya could use it if she didn’t want to get her hair wet.

Well, this arrangement worked, but the large rose kept dripping for hours afterwards. And Tanya ended up using the large rose exclusively anyway.

So yours truly devised Plan B, which is to fit a vacuum breaker, figuring that this would make the upper circuit drain more quickly. I also removed the lower arm and rose, what with it not being used and all.

Result : no change, large rose still dripped for hours… I think the water in the rose and pipe didn’t provide enough suction to open the vacuum breaker, maybe.

A lot of late night insomnia led to Plan C.

Spot the difference? Yup, those curved pipes are not for show. The shower now stops dripping almost immediately.

So, if you want a large overhead shower rose, you also need the pipe with the bend in it. Trust me.